WVU Cornerback Pat Miller Impresses Early On - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Cornerback Pat Miller Impresses Early On

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MORGANTOWN -

 Of course everyone wanted to see what the Mountaineer offense was going to do under Dana Holgorsen against Marshall and Norfolk State before they face their first road test at Maryland, but the defense did what they could do to steal the spotlight over the first two weeks.  Although the offense is averaging 44.5 points per game so far, the defense has been even more impressive, not allowing a single touchdown.

 When you lose seven starters from a top 10 defense, it can be frustrating to see the new defense in action for the first time.  After the "lightning bowl" was finally called, the 2011 version of the WVU defense only allowed six points to the Thundering Herd.  Against Norfolk State, the defense bent, but did not break as they gave up four field goals to the Spartans.

 One of the new starters on this year's defense is junior cornerback Pat Miller, replacing Brandon Hogan who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers.  Playing opposite of an All-American candidate in Keith Tandy, Miller just needs to play within himself and play under control.  He feels that the defense as a whole has done a great job of doing that the first two games.

 "We came out fast and played hard," Miller said.  "That was a big question mark coming into the season whether the defense was going to show up, but I think we showed up pretty well."

 Chemistry has been talked about all offseason, whether or not the new players could step in and communicate as a team and stay on the same page.  Miller says the chemistry has exceeded his expectations so far.

 "[The chemistry] was better than what I thought it would be because everybody played fast and everybody was getting to the ball," Miller said.  "That's the key to the defense.  We lost a lot of players but as long as we have players coming in and playing fast, this defense can still be good."

 It is hard to follow up a defense that ranked near the top of every single defensive category the year before, but Miller wants this year's team to be remembered as one of the best in the nation as well.

 "The whole time over this summer we kept saying we're going to form our own identity," Miller said.  "Last year's over so we want this to be identified as the 2011 defense.  We want to be better than the defense last year."

 Miller had a solid game against Marshall, recording six tackles (four solo) and slowed down the Herd's Aaron Dobson before he was able to reach the endzone on a third down play.  Standing at 5-10, Miller lacks in the height department when it comes to guarding taller receivers. 

 "A lot of corners are shorter than receivers so when I go out there and press or in goal line situations, I just need to be physical," Miller said.  "I need to play the ball because I have good ball skills and awareness to help me."

 Against Norfolk State, Miller racked up five tackles (four solo) and had one pass break up.

 As good as he has been so far this season, he is getting ready to face the team he struggled majorly with last season.  In the game against Maryland in 2010, WVU was leading 28-0 in the 3rd quarter.  Miller was given the task of covering now Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.  Smith beat Miller badly on a 60 yard touchdown catch that cut the WVU lead to 28-7.  Six minutes later, Smith picked on Miller again, catching an 80 yard touchdown pass as he blew right by him over the middle of the field.  These would be the only touchdowns the Terps would score the entire game.

 Miller has been great so far in 2011, but he wants to redeem himself against a team that will likely test him again this Saturday to try and erase the memories of last season.

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